Little applause for Bristol & West

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The Independent Online
BRISTOL & West's statements that it has all but overcome the administrative problems dogging its postal account have not been universally applauded, writes Neasa MacErlean.

Denis Sutton of Hertfordshire has been waiting five weeks for the passbook he expected to get within days. At the end of December he sent the building society a cheque for pounds 37,500 - representing the proceeds of the sale of his mother's bungalow.

Mrs Sutton has now gone into a residential home, and her son - who has power of attorney - is due to pay out pounds 1,000 this week from the Bristol & West funds to pay for her accommodation.

He has rung both the Scottish office, which handles the Balmoral postal account, and the Bristol & West headquarters numerous times. At least five times he has been promised that they would take urgent or immediate action. But nothing has happened. After contacting the general manager's office and receiving no reply he became anxious.

When the Independent became involved, he was telephoned immediately. A spokesman for Bristol & West said that the delay was caused by an error on the copy of the power of attorney that Mr Sutton had sent to them to prove that he had the right to handle his mother's investments.

The spokesman said: 'I understand that there was a problem with his power of attorney which wasn't signed in the proper place.' Bristol & West promises that the money will be sent immediately - 'by telegraphic transfer, if necessary' - when the power of attorney is sorted out.

But Mr Sutton is worried about Bristol & West. 'I've had the power of attorney for two years,' he said. 'And I've used it in all sorts of places.'

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